Molding’s property game raises uncomfortable questions for THG

Updates from the Hut group

Matthew Molding: surreal real estate

City Insider makes no apologies for venturing into the world of THG again. Every look inside Matthew Molding’s £ 8 billion mail order cosmetics and whey powder empire offers mystery and surprises to rival the lucky dip subscription boxes he sends out every month. .

Real estate ownership has been one of the most controversial aspects of THG’s history since its listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2020. Molding has built up a large real estate portfolio in recent years, part of which is re-leased to the e-commerce group at an annual yield. of around £ 19million. Its domain is divided between various British “propco” entities, some of which are part of a Guernsey registered holding company, Molding Capital.

Guernsey’s company law does not require public filing and its company register takes a more narrow-minded publication approach than the UK Companies House. Nonetheless, the accounts of Molding’s onshore propcos – approved by THG Chief Financial Officer John Gallemore and Legal Officer James Pochin – indicate that Molding Capital’s financial statements are available at THG’s headquarters in Manchester.

So, could someone stop by THG’s Voyager House headquarters to take a look. Absolutely not, the company told the Financial Times: Its advisers have said Molding Capital’s accounts are “not available to the public.” Does this mean that the accessibility statements included in the onshore propco statements are false? THG declined to comment.

Helen Ashton: a step beyond

Former Asos CFO Helen Ashton has started a new business, a “revolutionary challenger management consultancy” called Shape Beyond. According to the bumf launch, customers can leverage its “deep knowledge of the retail industry and the power to disrupt quickly through digital technology, agility and innovation.”

Ashton was CFO of Asos between September 2015 and April 2018, when she resigned from the board, but remained an employee until the end of August to “ensure a smooth handover”. The extended exit also meant that she was eligible for a share allotment under a three-year bonus plan worth around £ 650,000 at the time. The deal angered shareholder advisory firm Glass Lewis so much that it recommended investors vote against the director compensation report. More than 97 percent of shareholders ignored the notice.

“During his three-year tenure as CFO of Asos, the company’s value more than doubled to £ 6.5 billion,” Shape Beyond says with unnecessary modesty, given that the gain in value is also true for Ashton’s nearly two years and seven months. was at work. The consultancy also calls her “one of the four female CFOs of the FTSE 100 retail sector”; Asos is listed on Aim, the junior market of LSE, and is therefore not eligible for inclusion in the FTSE index.

VSA Capital: the monkey business

Celebrations this week at VSA Capital, the small-cap investment bank led by seasoned broker Andrew Monk. VSA shares have been admitted to trading on the Aquis Stock Exchange, which Monk wants to establish as a competitor to Aim as a London growth market. His current enthusiasm is for companies working in the energy transition, from battery metal mining to storage, transport and recycling.

VSA’s corporate finance team marked the occasion of its IPO with an email to clients that detailed, in their own words, Monk’s “pretty extreme views” on climate science.

“As a person at the forefront of the transitional energy revolution, he recognizes that climate change is very important,” reassures the email, before setting out his theory that population growth alone can be blamed for disrupting a cold phase in the 500 million natural years of the Earth. climate cycle.

“We should stop saying we’re trying to save the planet [which] is quite capable of looking after itself as it has done for the past 4 billion years, ”one reads. “The planet cannot really cope with such a large population, so we either have to reduce the population or learn to live differently. ”

He continues: “Our dear boss has a solution to this problem, but we have decided to omit it! Phew.

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Jamie Collins

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